Buffalo Sabres starting goaltender Robin Lehner will miss the next 6-10 weeks with a high ankle sprain, coach Dan Bylsma said Sunday.
In the second period of the Sabres’ season opener against the Ottawa Senators, Lehner dropped down to his knees anticipating a shot and then had trouble getting to his feet shortly after.
He left the contest with what the team called a “lower body injury” and at the time, Bylsma said the issue likely wasn’t a short-term problem.
Said Bylsma of Lehner on Friday via Buffalo Hockey Beat
“He was apologetic,” Bylsma said. “He was upset because he’s injured right now. Last night he just said he was sorry. He can’t be sorry for getting injured.”
The Sabres acquired Lehner and David Legwand shortly before the 2015 NHL Draft from the Senators for a first-round pick in hopes the 24-year-old could become their goaltender of the future.
That task now temporarily falls on the shoulders of 29-year-old Chad Johnson, who will likely start in Lehner’s absence.
Johnson gave up four goals on 31 shots on goal in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Through two games played, Johnson has a 3.30 goals against average and .875 save percentage.
Said Johnson after the Lightning game according to the Buffalo News:
“It’s just going to take time for everyone to finally catch on to that,” said Johnson, who made 27 saves during his first start in relief of injured Robin Lehner. “Sometimes there’s some hesitation where guys will be or where they should be. Obviously, there’s not an automatic, and that’s to be expected. If you play teams like Tampa and New York and some of these other teams that have had the same systems in place for years and the same players for years, it makes a difference. The experience you have helps. For us, it’s just trying to build and get comfortable.”
The Sabres are 0-2-0 and have allowed seven goals in their first two games. Buffalo has scored two goals – one of which coming from rookie Jack Eichel.
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